Buckfast gives you wings – it’s all in the caffeine

I can’t remember if I’ve ever had Buckfast – I think I might have had a slug of it when I was 14 or so – but the drink of preference at that age was vodka. Vodka didn’t taste of much and you could stick orange in it or coca cola so that  you could at least drink something that tasted pleasant. So Buckfast didn’t really feature in my under age sweet tooth circles.

Today though Buckfast seems to be the drink of preference for every young kid that is intent on getting blootered as quickly as possible – or at least that is what t’media would have us believe and a fair number of Scotchster MPs as well. BBC Scotland did one of it’s in depth investigations last night and proved that people who got drunk on Buckie ended up in prison – well, not all of them but some of them. Most of the program could be easily ignored as it tried to fill 30 minutes by revealing that it was as easy to break a Buckie bottle as a bottle of Chateauneuf Du Pape, that the Benedictin Monks who make it are a charity and that they make money by making the stuff – rather than watch it on iplayer just read the Daily Mail article which appears to have been written by a viewer.

However, there was one point made in the program that grabbed my attention – “the caffeine content is bonkers man – thurs hunners aw caffeine in it”. This would have been something worth investigating fully but the time allocated to the expert on the subject was way too brief. But suffice to say it looks like high levels of caffeine and alcohol are a bad and possibly dangerous combination. The USA were mentioned as being concerned- so a quick Google later…. a New Scientist article from November 09 suggests a USA ban could be in place soon for caffeine in alcoholic drinks. I’d rather the program had went into detail on that research because the real question is not about Buckfast, the real question is – “is mixing large doses of caffeine with alcohol dangerous” – because if it is then we better start telling folks quick and ensure producers adapt their recipes soon.

As a yoof I always viewed mixing vodka with coca cola as a way to make things taste pleasant – it never occurred to me to OD on the cola and party all night. So now I have finally realised why folk drink Vodka and Red Bull – they want to stay up and buzzed all night – and that might not be too clever. But how can you police mixers in your drink?

We seem intent on putting a minimum price on alcohol in Scotland…… will we have to do the same with caffeine soft drinks? I’m sure I’m the last to find out that caffeine and alcohol let you party all night – but in case I’m not….. anyone for vodka and decaf?

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